Thirty years have passed, which implies progress.
I mean, generally that’s how it works. We improve with the upping of years and the ticking hands of a clock. In technology. In science. In understanding our fellow humans. In treating people with dignity and equality.
And yet, when it comes to the modern Republican Party; the party of Marjorie Taylor Greene and Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio and Lauren Boebert and Mo Betta Brooks and (the lord and savior and Jim Jones of it all) Donald Trump, time has a way of reversing itself, a la Superman flying backward around the planet to expunge events that displeased him. Progress is not a thing to celebrate, but to reject. Equal rights are to be scorned. Sensitivities are to be mocked. There is this thing—”The good ol’ days”—that were good, dammit. Good for white people. Good for racists. Good for sexists. Good for homophobes. Good.
Wait. I digress.
Thirty years ago, in the state of Louisiana, two people ran for governor. One was a notoriously corrupt Democrat named Edwin Edwards, whose track record was that of a kind man whose body was stuffed with, oh, 30 percent slime. The other was David Duke, registered Republican and former leader of the Ku Klux Klan.
I repeat, for the hard of hearing: The Republican was a Klansman.
At the time, George H. W. Bush was president—a Republican looking to pass his conservative agenda. One can assume David Duke (evilness be damned) would have pushed along Bush’s priorities far more than Edwards. The president, however, was no racist. He knew some acts were not worth the price of his dignity; knew urging people to support a thing who believed blacks were akin to primates was no way to govern. So, ultimately, George H. W. Bush told his supporters to vote Edwin Edwards. And the Democrat won—handily.
Again, that was 30 years ago.
As we speak, Greene, the congressperson out of Georgia, has been exposed as all sorts of crazy and deranged. She accused a Jewish-operated space laser of starting the California wildfires. She harassed a Florida teenager whose school was shot up. She suggested that Muslims do not belong in government. She she would feel “proud” to see a Confederate monument if she were Black because it symbolizes progress made since the Civil War. She said Nancy Pelosi is “guilty of treason” and would “suffer death or she’ll be in prison.” She called multiple mass shootings “false flags” and endorsed a conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton partook in satanic child sacrifice rituals.
Were this 1991, Bush would have not merely distanced himself from Greene—he would have urged her ouster from congress and the Republican Party. But here we sit, in the modern Palin phlegm stew, and Greene hasn’t merely been embraced by the GOP. No, she was assigned a spot on the House Education and Labor Committee. And, were that not bad enough, she received a call from Donald Trump yesterday, encouraging her tremendous work.
She is David Duke.
Without the KKK hood, but with all the evil.